About the Ghosts in My Holiday Decorating

They might be called my happy ghosts of Christmas past and present; only they are inanimate animators of the holiday. Forty-eight weeks of the year, they are packed away. Now, I’ve reacquainted myself with some old seasonal friends and even added some new ones. As I gaze at them, I realize why my home will never make it in REAL SIMPLE’s Christmas issue – except perhaps as a cautionary.

Colors, patterns, themes are all mixed up. Secular and religious memorabilia have been combined in such a way that what I actually believe about Christmas isn’t so clear. (I have kept the Wise men on mantle, away from the Crèche – they did not arrive on Christmas!) But our treasures, my happy ghosts, make me laugh, and spark memories of many, many joyful celebrations with Doug and our families.

May I introduce a few?


One Happy Christmas Ghost

The three narrow shelves on the hutch display a collection of old and new memories– from gifts our children and grandchildren and friends gave, to pieces from Doug’s mom and sister; from my handiwork to a flameless candle I had to have this year. When I look at it all  critically, I can see it may be one step shy of tacky.

And Now to the Dining Room’s Ghosts

Our table this year is in a cozy little space that opens on our kitchen and sun room. (A butler and cook would have an easy time serving us!)

dining table

Another Happy Ghost

When I set the table for a holiday dinner, I realized I had a lot of patterns and colors going on in such a small space. Even squinting couldn’t soften the contrasts.

Note, the napkins were ones we used in our first apartment; they almost matched a new tablecloth. Children and grandchildren are forbearing guests!

My table arrangement was particularly well received by the little ones: a clear vase filled with miniature candy canes, surrounded by green tea lights. With desert so clearly set before them, it cut down the discussion on what and how much had to be eaten!

Yes, I know the chair covers don’t match our rug; still, they are the ones my sister-in-law and I did together, and that is a sweet memory. Moreover, they are the same style chairs my parents owned in Baltimore . . . 18th century wannabes! And I picked out the rug with a dear friend in Dallas: more good memories that soften color clashes.

Meanwhile On a Sideboard, An Old Ghost

christmas cactus

Still Another Happy Ghost

The Christmas cactus fits in its pot – which is a good thing. Subtle, the combination is not. Nevertheless, the pot is one that my aunt Virginia had, and it reminds me of her vitality and kindnesses.  The combo of colors, red,white and green,  remind me of Italy — a country dear to other family and friends we love: memories all around!

Altogether, I can see while nothing quite matches, it all goes together, after a fashion . . . especially the  friendly new ghosts for this year: our crab pillows match the slipcover!

crab pillows

The Last Ghost for Now

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles. ~Author Unknown

Share this: